UPDATE: Python Strangles 2 Brothers To Death - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

UPDATE: 100 Pound Python Strangles 2 Brothers To Death

Posted: Updated:

CAMPBELLTON, New Brunswick (AP) - A 100-pound (45-kilogram) python blamed in the strangling deaths of two Canadian boys apparently escaped from its pet store enclosure, slithered through a ventilation system and fell through the ceiling into the room where the young brothers were sleeping, the shop owner said Tuesday.

A snake expert said it was possible that the python was spooked and simply clung to whatever it landed on. Police are treating the deaths as a criminal investigation.

Autopsies on Noah Barthe, 5 and his brother Connor Barthe, 7, were being performed Tuesday. They had been visiting the apartment of a friend above an exotic pet store in Campbellton, New Brunswick, said Royal Canadian Mounted Police Const. Julie Rogers-Marsh.

Rogers-Marsh said the snake apparently escaped during the night and made its way into the apartment through the ventilation system. A friend of the boys was sleeping in another room and was unharmed, she said.

The pet store owner, Jean-Claude Savoie, told the Global News television station that he didn't hear a sound and discovered the "horrific scene" when he went into his living room, where the two boys had been sleeping, on Monday morning.

"I can't believe this is real," Savoie said.

The boys were the children of his best friend and were often at his apartment to visit his son, Savoie said. The python, which he has had for at least 10 years, had been kept alone in its enclosure and was not handled by anyone else, he added.

Police said the snake has been killed by a veterinarian.

The snake was about 4.3 meters (4.7 yards) long, RCMP Sgt. Alain Tremblay said. He said police were looking at whether the store followed the province's regulations on exotic animals.

"It's a criminal investigation," Tremblay said. "We're going to look at all avenues."

The RCMP's Major Crime Unit is continuing the investigation, with the assistance of a reptile expert from the Magnetic Hill Zoo in Moncton, New Brunswick.

The town's deputy mayor, Ian Comeau, said the Reptile Ocean shop was licensed to operate and "everything was according to our bylaws, to the provincial guidelines." He said he saw alligators, crocodiles and snakes when he toured the shop with the fire department about two years ago.

Snake expert John Kendrick, a manager at the Reptile Store in Hamilton, Ontario, said it sounds like the python was not enclosed properly and might have been spooked. He called the strangling deaths "very unusual" but said African rock pythons tend to be a little more high-strung.

"It's very odd that one would go out and seek out a person. They don't recognize us as food," he said.

Pythons can sense heat, and if they are startled they can grab something, Kendrick said. He said snakes are very long and their muscles run lengthwise through their body, so they are not very stable unless they are holding on to something.

"A snake that size that was just trying to hold on securely enough to make sure he felt like he wasn't falling or going anywhere; he has enough muscle power to cut off circulation," he said.

It's possible that the python was just holding on to what it landed on, Kendrick said.

"Once they are in constricting mode, any part of their body that is touching something that moves, they'll wrap it. I've seen snakes with two different prey items at the same time, one with the back of the body and one with the front. It could have been an incident like that."

PREVIOUS STORY:

CAMPBELLTON, New Brunswick (AP) - Autopsies will be performed today on two boys believed killed by a snake in an apartment in Canada.
    
Authorities believe a python escaped from its enclosure at the Reptile Ocean pet store in New Brunswick, slithered through the ventilation system and into an upstairs apartment, where the two brothers, ages five and seven, were visiting.
    
Police arrived at the apartment early Monday morning and found the brothers dead. A friend of the boys was sleeping in another room and was unharmed.
    
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police say the snake was captured and is in the possession of police. They believe the python escaped from its enclosure sometime during the night.
    

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Reversing the blindness: Spokane surgeon gives the gift of eyesight in Honduras

    Reversing the blindness: Spokane surgeon gives the gift of eyesight in Honduras

    Wednesday, May 23 2018 9:27 PM EDT2018-05-24 01:27:27 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - One by one the patches are peeled away and the world comes back into focus. That’s been the experience for hundreds of Hondurans thanks to a Spokane surgeon whose mission is to restore eyesight in the small, Central American country. “It’s neat to see people that can see for the first time in years,” said Dr. Jon Haymore, an eye surgeon and MultiCare Rockwood. “It’s rewarding to us.” Haymore, his wife, and a team 

    More >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - One by one the patches are peeled away and the world comes back into focus. That’s been the experience for hundreds of Hondurans thanks to a Spokane surgeon whose mission is to restore eyesight in the small, Central American country. “It’s neat to see people that can see for the first time in years,” said Dr. Jon Haymore, an eye surgeon and MultiCare Rockwood. “It’s rewarding to us.” Haymore, his wife, and a team 

    More >>
  • Domestic violence victim family spearheads movement to "end the silence"

    Domestic violence victim family spearheads movement to "end the silence"

    Wednesday, May 23 2018 9:24 PM EDT2018-05-24 01:24:29 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. -A family affected by domestic violence is working to end the silence. Tina Stewart was a mother of a two who police say was brutally beaten to death by her boyfriend, Nicholas Holden, the night before last Thanksgiving. Holden has since changed his plea to guilty to second-degree murder. Stewart’s family has worked tirelessly toward a solution to prevent this from happening to another family. Stewart’s uncle, Don Estes, says he hopes to see a registry of do...

    More >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. -A family affected by domestic violence is working to end the silence. Tina Stewart was a mother of a two who police say was brutally beaten to death by her boyfriend, Nicholas Holden, the night before last Thanksgiving. Holden has since changed his plea to guilty to second-degree murder. Stewart’s family has worked tirelessly toward a solution to prevent this from happening to another family. Stewart’s uncle, Don Estes, says he hopes to see a registry of do...

    More >>
  • Human remains found in wooded area of Tacoma

    Human remains found in wooded area of Tacoma

    Wednesday, May 23 2018 9:17 PM EDT2018-05-24 01:17:49 GMT

    TACOMA, Wash. (AP) - Human remains have been found in a wooded area below Stadium High School in Tacoma. The News Tribune reports the body's advanced state of decomposition made an immediate determination of gender, age and race impossible. Tacoma Police spokeswoman Shelbie Boyd says police received a call about the remains and had to use a ladder to reach the site which was heavily covered by blackberry vines. She says there was no obvious sign of the cause o...

    More >>

    TACOMA, Wash. (AP) - Human remains have been found in a wooded area below Stadium High School in Tacoma. The News Tribune reports the body's advanced state of decomposition made an immediate determination of gender, age and race impossible. Tacoma Police spokeswoman Shelbie Boyd says police received a call about the remains and had to use a ladder to reach the site which was heavily covered by blackberry vines. She says there was no obvious sign of the cause o...

    More >>